Archived Story

United Way rewards locals

Published 4:43pm Monday, July 30, 2012

William Marohn, of St. Joseph, was named the 2012 recipient of the United Way of Southwest Michigan Margaret B. Upton Volunteer Leadership Award. The honor was presented during the United Way Community Volunteer Celebration & Recognition Event, held at the Heritage Museum & Cultural Center in St. Joseph.

In addition, United Way presented the Live United Youth awards and scholarships and the Powerful Giving Volunteer Awards.

Margaret B. Upton Volunteer Leadership Award

Marohn has a longstanding history of volunteerism dating back more than 30 years with organizations such as the Berrien Community Foundation, SJ/BH Rotary Club, Cornerstone Alliance and the Lake Michigan College Foundation.

As this year’s Margaret B. Upton Volunteer Leadership Award winner, Marohn receives $3,000 from the Frederick S. Upton Foundation to donate to the non-profit organization of his choice.

William Marohn was one of eight nominees for this great honor.  Also nominated for the award were Madeline Bentley, by St. Joseph Lincoln Senior Center; James Brinkmann; by Lest We Forget; Klaus Buenger, by Coloma Glad Peach Festival; Harry Burritt, by Junior Achievement; Barbara Farnan Brown, by Special Olympics; Bernice Mason, by Parent Advisory Committee for Benton Harbor Area Schools; and Frances Quirk, by the Berrien County Youth Fair.

Live United Youth Award

Paige Ottmar, of St. Joseph, and Hannah Montgomery, of Edwardsburg, won the Live United Youth Awards for Berrien and Cass County, each received $500 scholarships for their education.

Ottmar has been an active volunteer throughout her high school career working with First Church of God, Humane Society, the Sonya Ansari Center for Autism and also volunteering on school projects such as Senior Prom for Senior Citizens, Fashion with Compassion and the Boxathon. Paige is also vice president of the St. Joseph High School Key Club.

Montgomery, a Niles High School student, holds numerous academic honors and volunteers with Ronald McDonald Charities of Michiana, The Salvation Army, Sunburst Races, Relay for Life and is a 4-H Dog program junior leader. She is the creator of the “Dash to Read” literacy program, where she visits classrooms and libraries with her dog Dash to work with at-risk children. This project was inspired by her desire to become a teacher and her love of dogs.

“When I volunteer, I always have fun meeting ne w people and being able to put a smile on their faces,” Montgomery said.  “Volunteering is a rewarding job in so many ways and one can really learn to appreciate many things in life because of it.  I especially love working with my ‘Dash to Read’ students.  I love seeing them progress in their reading abilities and how proud they are of the work they are doing.”

“These young women really stand out and set an example for all of us,” Murphy said. “They understand the value of volunteerism and United Way wanted to recognize and reward their commitment.”

Additional nominees for the Live United Youth Award are Taylor Kanaby, of Edwardsburg, Natalie Mann, of Niles, Demi Overley, of Marcellus, Miranda Bachman, of Coloma, Emily Elias, of Stevensville, Amy Erickson, of St. Joseph, Megan Garstecki, of St. Joseph, Zachary McAllister, of Stevensville, Jordan Harper, of Niles, and Emily Milnikel, of St. Joseph.

Powerful Giving Awards

This year United Way introduced the Powerful Giving Awards in education, income, health and basic needs to recognize volunteers who have dedicated their time and energy toward shared goals in these impact areas. The winners can designate $200 to the non-profit organization of their choice.

The Powerful Giving Award in education was presented to Larry and Sandy Feldman, of Lakeside.  The Feldmans started the All God’s Children Choir 11 years ago to educate the community about diversity and community engagement.

The Powerful Giving Award in income was presented to Linda Thomson, of Stevensville. Thomson volunteers as a tax preparer for the annual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. Her direct impact can be found on perhaps thousand of Berrien County residents who received her expert tax assistance, allowing them to both avoid the cost of tax preparation as well as receive the highest possible return.

The Powerful Giving Award in health was presented to Gladys Sandera, of Stevensville. Sandera has been an active volunteer with Berrien County Cancer Services since 2000, assisting with the Blue Newsletter, Pennies for Patients, health fairs and administrative work. She also volunteers with the Soup Kitchen, Lincoln Township Public Library and St. Joseph Lincoln Senior Center, among many others.

The Powerful Giving Award in basic needs was presented to Carole Sternaman, of Coloma. Sternaman invests her time in improving the lives of people living on the fringes. Her work with the North Berrien Food Pantry included developing an oversight committee and recruiting other churches and organizations to get involved in taking ownership of the problem of hunger in the community.

Additional nominees for the Powerful Giving Awards include Dee Appleman, of Stevensville, Jessica Daniels, of Buchanan, Greg O’Toole, of Niles, Ann Odden, of Benton Harbor, Reyna Price, of Coloma, Lorraine Day, of St. Joseph, Kenneth Wood, of Bridgman, and Mary Fran Tiernan, of Union Pier.

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